The super-busy model (you may recognize her from her campaigns for Armani, Prada, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent or the May 2013 cover of UK Harper's Bazaar, among many other awesome things), singer-songwriter and mother was excited to open the festivities on Tuesday night, and we got a chance to chat with her before she walked onstage. Can I just say that — in addition to being the most beautiful person I've ever seen close up — she is absolutely delightful? Gracious, bright, creative ... yeah, she's pretty much perfect. As is the Lhuillier gown she donned for the occasion.
Elson said she was thrilled to be involved because the event brought together so many things she loves, like Lhullier's high fashion gowns, music, and her adopted hometown's symphony. She said that performing on the "incredible" Schermerhorn stage was a "dream come true."
We asked her what she thought about fashion in Nashville, and she said she thinks there's a lot of potential here — a "wealth of talent" — and that she's been talking with a few of her friends here about how to get Nashville — and the South, collectively — to the next level, fashion-wise. (Funny, this topic is coming up a lot lately, isn't it?)
Elson suggested that we bring more fashion professionals — including buyers from department stores and boutiques — and "people who make things happen" to Nashville, a concept that was discussed repeatedly at the NFW panels last week.
"This town needs to have more people who are higher up in the fashion industry come here and recognize that there’s so much talent, and start from there," Elson said. "And start helping local businesses and local designers have a business plan ... I think the way fashion designers have to go these days, it’s great that you’re creative, but you also need to have a business head. And you also need to have somebody who can guide you, and be a mentor ... creatively, but also business-wise."
Elson enthused that she thought Nashville could be a leader in the progression of southern fashion, but that the aforementioned business development is a necessary step that the outside industry needs to see.
"I think Nashville needs a little bit more of the industry to come here and then I believe it could really go far," she said. "It could be a pinnacle, I think, Nashville, for fashion designers within the South ... because so much is happening here right now. It could be the next level, the next sort of creative outlet for Nashville, because you’ve got obviously you’ve got music covered. And now it seems, with the TV show, there’s a lot more opportunities for people acting here. And fashion could be the next level of creativity."
So, if that's not a call to action for the local fashion scene, I don't know what is! To all of you creative fashion-y people out in Nashville: We're taking it to the next level, and I want to hear from you on what you need. Seriously. Enough talk. Let's do it.
Oh, and if you just came here to see pretty pictures of Elson and those ridiculously gorg Lhuillier gowns, here you go. We'll start with another shot of Elson with ridiculously gorg event host, Allison DeMarcus: